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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

October 30, 2010

For 100 miles she cried

It’s easy to forget that all those animals lurking around out there are people. That despite their decisions, situation or even motivations they deserve some compassion. As we have traveled near to the Mexican border we have seen an incredible amount of surveillance equipment, dudes with guns, dogs and check points. All in an effort to defend this country from the sorted peoples trying to illegally cross.

The conditions are stark, hot, dry and long, with tarantulas and scorpions all over the place. If you can imagine what it would be like trying to cross a barren region with all kinds of people, equipment and poisonous bugs looking for you then you could appreciate the challenge. But the real problem doesn’t lay in the difficulty of the environment or the motivations of the person trying to cross, it is much simpler than that.

There is a tremendous amount of disregard for the human aspect of this problem and we have heard many times, “Those Mexicans are sneaking across the border to take American jobs”, or “If we could just round them all up and send them back”. Obviously there are some problems with those statements, as with any statement made with a large brush and there are important details that need to be examined. The statements are an indication of the mindset and it is this mindset that allows us to forget reason and the simple logic of the situation, the result is people who end up in a poor state and terrible situations.

As we headed West coming sometimes less than a mile from the border I enjoyed the dry heat and the riding, running over Locus and Tarantula and some time a Scorpion. I like seeing the dudes with guns and the check points, the roads were as fantastic as the scenery and I kept thinking we would see some people crawling across the road at any moment. I wondered, if we saw people would we stop at the next check point and tell them about the cat and mouse game, have them picked up and sent back. What I didn’t realize is that Deya was in drawn out state of mourning, with tears in her eyes she saw all the same things that I did but in a different light, a compassionate light. I simply saw the problem and was considering the solutions to the numbers of bagged meat crawling across the desert, I never stopped to think about the people.

When we arrived in Tucson Deya told me about her experience, her eyes watering again, I reminded myself to listen patiently because it is my duty and to remember that she is just being emotional. As she described the scene over the last several weeks, the attitudes from people, the actual illegal aliens we have likely seen and met and told me that despite not agreeing with the decisions to make such a crossing those people are still her fellow Mexicans and she is hurt by the disregard.

I could understand this but it wasn’t until she said, ”How would you feel if you saw a bunch of Canadians struggling across the land, just to be undervalued, underappreciated and abused?” It crushed me, I imagined my fellow Canucks in a state of being in which they actually thought that taking great risk to sneak into a neighbour’s country was the only way to succeed. That they were only good enough to pick up dog shit, berries and work without contribution to the host nation as a low income peasant, isn’t that like slavery? How could a Canadian fall so far to believe that’s all their worth? I wondered if our American cousins could picture their own people grovelling like this, what would it take to put us all in this situation and why aren’t we able to have more compassion for the solution instead of the punishment?

It’s a tough situation that steadily revolves around the law of supply and demand and there are some “enclaves of intelligence”, as a good buddy once put who understands this. I don’t know how to have an impact but all this time in the helmet gives me some room to think and if I can come up with a gem, well, I hope I could do some good. Fortunately there are greater minds than mine working on this problem and we’ve met some. I’m glad that Canada does not have a less fortunate neighbour with these conditions, we are some what insulated.


  1. I moved from the east coast of canada to the west coast for a better life. I think i can understand for all that come to canada regardless their reason....canada is truely the land of new beginnings and opportunity. It's very hard to start fresh and a long road to succeed. I am so fortunate to work with a company that has many different nationalities working for them, to me it's been a blessing to work with them. Thank You

  2. While a glimpse at the battleground evokes thoughts of the battle, it does not accurately recreate the true events that transpired. The illegal immigrant issue is only part of the security problem we are trying to fix on our southern border. There have been many middle eastern people caught infiltrating the border, some of whom have been associated with known terrorist groups. How many of them are we to ignore as they trek across the desert? There have also been armed convoys of drug runners crossing the border between El Paso and Tucson, ready to shoot it out with anyone who gets in their way before they reach their distribution points inside our country, including our BP agents.
    Many of those who cross for work are not giving up their native country to become US citizens. Every person who illegally entered this nation left a home. They are not homeless and they are not Americans. Some left jobs in their home countries. They come to send money to their real home as evidenced by the more than 20 billion dollars sent out of the country each year by illegal aliens. These illegal aliens knowingly and willfully entered this nation in violation of the law and therefore assumed the risk of detection and deportation. Those who brought their children assumed the responsibility and risk on behalf of their children.

    This is not an immigrant nation. There are 280 million native born Americans. While it is true that this nation was settled and founded by immigrants (legal immigrants), it is also true that there is not a nation on this planet that was not settled by immigrants at one time or another. The United States is welcoming to legal immigrants. Illegal aliens are not immigrants by definition. The U.S. accepts more lawful immigrants every year than the rest of the world combined.
    So, the issue is not one of the haves and have-nots trying to outwit one another. It is much more serious and the US has been much more respectful in handling Mexican illegal aliens than Mexico has been to our citizens, including tourists, who break a law in their country. On the scale that we are seeing, it is difficult to separate the chaff from the wheat... but we are trying. Last night 20 people were massacred across the Mexican border 90 miles from my home in New Mexico, adding to the more than 6,500 people killed since the start of 2008. Ciudad Juarez has become one of the world's deadliest cities in the time that two drug cartels have been fighting in northern Mexico. So, when we consider the US response to our border infiltration, where would you say the real problem lies?

  3. Thanks for the post Dick! We're learning that this is a huge multi-layered problem with people at it's core. I'll post more on this topic later because it is important enough to keep bringing up but simply way to big for me to solve. It is something that, as a Canadian, we are buffered from (thanks to the USA) but since we dont live in isolation it's our problem too. I hope we can generate some more intelligent dialogue around this issue because it's not going away anytime soon.
    Brian MD